CHAPEL HILL – UNC football coach Larry Fedora met with the media following Wednesday’s practice at Kenan Stadium to discuss his team’s preparation for Saturday’s opponent Duke, what the Blue Devils do well and more.
Here are a few snippets of what the head coach had to say:
*Communication has been the main topic regarding UNC’s defense this year, and with Andre Smith out, who does the staff look to as vocal leaders on defense now?
“That’s Donnie (Miles) and M.J. (Stewart), that’s Cole Holcomb; those things go on them, they’re the ones that have got to do a great job of communicating.”
Have they done a good job with it in practice this week?
“Oh yeah, yeah. They were doing it last week, so hopefully it will carry over to this week.”
*Asked what is the hardest element of Duke’s offense to contain, Fedora replied: “Daniel does a good job running the offense, whether it’s RPOs or throwing the ball down the field or whether it’s him running – he does a tremendous job with that. So that’s the thing about a quarterback that can run. You’ve got to have eyes on him, you just can’t be in coverage, and that makes it tougher on everybody.”
*Jim Knowles is in his eighth season as Duke’s defensive coordinator, so he’s the only DC at Duke that Fedora has faced in his six seasons at Carolina. How much prep does UNC put into what Duke has done through three games this season, in which the Blue Devils are among the national leaders in almost every statistical area, and how much does the staff look at the last five years in prepping for Saturday?
“I would say in the last couple of years they’re very similar. They did a good job against us last year. I think this is the best defense that they’ve put on the field in my opinion in the five years that I’ve been here. These guys are playing at a high level, their pressure execution is really good and they have a lot of confidence. I think they’re giving up about 12 percent on third downs. They’re playing really hard and really well and have a lot of confidence.”
*On the kickoff return for a touchdown by ODU, Fedora said, “We had a breakdown is what we had. We had a couple of guys that didn’t do their job, and it doesn’t take much on a kickoff return. If you’ve got 11 guys out there (and) the field is spread, you’ve got to take care of your lane and you’ve got to get off of blocks – you can’t be single blocked. We had that happen, they hot a lane and it’s over with after that.
“So how do we get it, we just make sure everyone understands how important it is. They all know and they’ll get it corrected.”